The last week of August and the first week of September seem to be dedicated to finding communal chough roosts and counting how many birds are using them. It gives an idea of how well this year’s chicks have fledged and become independent.

Freshwater West to East Picard

17:00 Start walking from the small car park at the north end of the beach, following the coast path.

17:20 Two chough fly past westwards – they were probably feeding at Gupton earlier

17:35 probably the same two choughs feeding and calling at Black Cave gully

No sign of chough from East Picard, but there was a large black pipe coming out of the sea and attached to the cliff halfway up the slope.  Bob thinks it is to do with a power line coming over from Ireland, on the sea bed.  Was it there when I did the spring walk here?  I don’t remember it, but whether that was because it wasn’t there, or because I was preoccupied with looking for choughs and recording stuff close to the path, I don’t know.

18:25 Two choughs still feeding on the turf above Black Cave as we go back to the car park.

Furzenips

19:00 Now parked by the Seaweed Drying Hut.  (the dark patch on the far shore in the top photo) Relatively few people about now – is it a sign that the summer holidays are coming to an end with the end of the bank holiday?  The tide is well out.  11 curlew fly along the tide line.

19:15  Walked along the top of the beach and boulders toward Great Furzenip, no-one else on this part of the beach.  Two choughs fly from Great Furzenip to the nest/roost site, calling loudly.  They seem to be objecting to me coming close enough to photograph the crumbling cliff face.  The calls continue for a few minutes, then they tuck themselves away in the crevice and silence reigns.

House martins flying around over the cliff top and just below – they breed here.

Amazing variety of colours and textures in the rocks, both the solid fixed areas, and in the boulders and stones on the beach.  Mostly red sandstone, but some limestone, concretions, pumice, and goodness knows what else.

There is absolute calm – not a breath of wind.  100% cloud is keeping the air at around 16C.  The calls of oystercatchers and curlews echo off the cliff faces – the birds themselves are down towards the water’s edge and it is low tide.  I wish I had sound-recording stuff with me.

Bob has counted 20 oystercatchers, and now another 19 fly along the shore.

19:04 the heavy beat of raven wings announce the arrival of the resident pair coming to roost on the cliff some way above the chough.

20:00 Calm, peaceful, tranquil, relaxing, mild enough to want to say all night if the rocks weren’t so uncomfortable.  Just gentle sounds of distant waves lapping the sand, and calls from the last few birds – house martins, rock pipits and waders.

Chough